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Himalaya

Day 10: Chitral

Michael Palin - HimalayaPolo, on the other hand, seems to have a lot to offer. Chitral's polo ground is a long, green rectangle behind the Mountain Inn, sloping up quite markedly at both ends.

An early evening training game is in progress, and even this draws a crowd of several hundred. As Siraj explains:

'Over here you don't have to be a rich man to play polo. You could be the most important person in Chitral, but if you happen to be playing on the field here you could be written off by your barber or your shoemaker.'

Polo thrived here on the border country after being introduced from Persia, and was known to be played on occasions with enemies' heads and sheep carcasses.

Unlike the international game, invented by the British, which is broken into seven-minute segments, at the end of which horses can be substituted, they play what they call 'free-style' polo, with no referee and no rules. Each chukka lasts 25 minutes, with no change of horses, unless one is injured.

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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Himalaya
  • Chapter: Day 10: Chitral
  • Country/sea: Pakistan
  • Place: Chitral
  • Book page no: 31

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RELATED LINKS

  • Sport and Leisure
  • Day 6 
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  • Day 7 
  • Full Circle
  • Day 4 
  • Pole to Pole

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